What's on YOUR AAC sidebar? (Quick phrases, favorite things, fringe words...)

Jul 18, 2018

Core vocabulary is amazing!! (I guess we could stop right there, but that wouldn't be much of a post.)

Building language around the most commonly used words so you can communicate about ANY topic using those words is a GREAT way to go and it's a proven, research-based practice as well.

But there may be times when core vocabulary simply is not enough. After all, there aren't many AAC core boards that include the names of a person's family, classmates, or favorite Star Wars characters.

And while you can definitely compose important phrases word by word using core vocabulary, sometimes a quick pre-composed response makes a lot more sense ("I need to use the bathroom" comes to mind).

To balance the need for core words with the need for fringe and phrases, CoughDrop has a built-in sidebar feature to bring the best of both worlds straight to the screen of your favorite AAC device.

Within CoughDrop, each account is equipped with a fully customizable sidebar. This sidebar is a collection of speech boards which rests to the right of the selected board while in speak mode.

You can mold this handy array of bonus boards to fit the needs of your AAC user.

Do you dabble in these separate boards often? Then leave the sidebar constantly open for quick access.

Do you only toggle to these terms on occasion? Pin the sidebar up so it doesn't distract you when you're composing other phrases on your main speech boards.

Of course, you can also turn off the sidebar feature, but that's not really much to talk about. (Jump to the "sidebar layout" section of your preferences page to change, delete, or rearrange boards on your sidebar...get all the dirt on managing your sidebar here).

A handful of our favorite uses for the CoughDrop sidebar include:



Provide a place for teachers and families to add speech boards important to their interactions without having to alter the AAC home board.

Social Speech:

Tack common phrases up for use in quick social interactions. Keep commonly used expressions readily available for times when a fast, pre-composed response is needed.


Link a specific board to a location so it ONLY appears on the sidebar when the communicator needs it (like a menu when they are at a certain restaurant or a board of terms for a specific activity only when geolocation on the device finds they are at that location).

Fringe Favorites:

Place favorite fringe vocabulary words in a place where they are accessible without cluttering up the main vocabulary boards with too many, occasionally used words.

Keyboard Connections:

The sidebar is the perfect place to pin a keyboard if you don't have one in your regular board set. This allows fast, easy access to spelling and word creation for any need that may arise.

All in all, your CoughDrop sidebar gives you versatility and keeps needed speech boards within ready reach.

So, what's on YOUR sidebar?

Melissa DeMoux

Former CoughDrop Director of Marketing and Support -- worked with AAC communicators & teams